As you know at High Gear we are all about fair trading, only working with drivers that abide by the taxi laws of their local council. With a considerable about of business placed in London it is important that we stay on top hot topics, especially when it comes to taxi insurance and illegal practice. This week it has been announced that the number of compliance officers in the city will quadruple over the course of the next few month, something that Sadiq Khan is happy to promote. The mayor said it would "drive up standards... and help our world famous cabbies continue to thrive" These positions are to be funded as part of changes to private hire operator licensing, meaning changed will be enforced that will affect drivers in London. One change that has been noted is that larger firms will pay larger enforcement costs as a result.
What the experts have to sayCausing a great deal of comment from drivers and industry officials illegal practice is something that is harming everyone. Steve McNamara, the general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LDTA), hails this move as a positive. "This is fantastic news for Londoners and the black cab trade," he said. Steve Wright, chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association, says his main issue is with those touting on the streets of London, claiming that they are 'not part of the industry'. He said: "Many of these people simply don't work in the industry at all or they're partly in the industry, they're not fully in the industry, and for that reason we shouldn't have to pick up all the cost". Steve Garelick, branch secretary of the Professional Drivers branch of the GMB union said: "Whilst we broadly accept the need for improved compliance and enforcement for London and its many visitors we want to assure the travelling public that the majority of journeys are safe. "Protection against illegality is paramount. We are concerned however that the costs borne by operators will be passed on to drivers creating further hardship."
The officers' roleThese uniformed staff members are scattered around the city to ensure drivers boast the correct documentation and insurance, instilling safety on the roads. They are also connected to other bodies to stamp down on regulation. Through the combined efforts of TfL officers, Scotland Yard and Westminster City Council between May and July they successfully achieved the following:
- 448 private hire drivers reported for not having a badge
- 5116 private hire drivers reported for not wearing their badge
- 65 private hire drivers reported for plying for hire offences
- 1265 private hire drivers reported for parking on taxi ranks